Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Friedrich Holderlin

same as it ever was


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  2. Poem: To the Fates
    The author seems as though he is about to die.
    He is begging the sisters of fate for another year to improve his life. He uses music and vivid description of his emotion to convey an amount of sincerity that seems unreal to me, but despite this apparent lack of honest, I still really enjoyed this poem.

  3. The Half of Life

    Friedrich Holderlin presents a view of life and reality in "The Half of Life". First he depicts a scene of the beauty of spring, saying, "With yellow pears the country,/ Brimming with wild roses,/Hangs into the lake"(1-3). Here he illustrates the typical "lively" scene.
    In the second stanza, he contrasts the first with "the other half" of life. He writes, "Where, ah where shall I find/When winter comes, the flowers"(8-9), saying that the lack of life characterizes winter. He presents both beauty and blandness in the poem, offering a full view of life, rather than just admiring "the good" without acknowledging "the bad".

  4. The Half of Life

    In "The Half of Life," Holderlin portrays his own thoughts about nature. He describes spring, visualizing, "Yellow pears the country, Brimming with wild roses" (1-2). This picturesque scene is vastly different from the one in winter, which he questions, "Where shall I find,/ When winter comes, the flowers,/ And where the sunshine/ And shadows of the earth?" (8-11). His intense focus on nature and the scene it presents characterizes itself as a poem of the Romantic period.
    Holderlin uses imagery to create a realistic picture for his readers to acknowledge. He writes in blank verse, perhaps to hint to his readers that the meaning of the poem is more important than the substance. His comparision between the different stages of nature in the world made me think about my own observations of nature and my reactions towards its consistant changes.

  5. "The Half of Life" - Friedrich Holderin

    By describing scenes such as "with yellow pears the country, / brimming with wild roses," (1-2) Holderin is establishing an interest in Nature, which is a key aspect of Romanticism. The differences in the two stanzas of the poem present the readers with two different moods of Nature and allow the readers to see Holderin's personal interpretation of life, which he split into two halves. He provides his own individual feelings, expressing his love for one half of life, here described as summertime, and dislike of the other half of the world, which must be wintertime.

    The use of words such as cold and speechless as well as the use of questions in the second stanza greatly emphasize the down side of life, where there seems to exist no energy and only little hope of the other half of life to come back. The inclusion of similar topics to the first stanzas, such as flowers and sunshine, in questions of the second stanza shows us that the knowledge of the good gives people hope when things are not so great in life because they know the there exists a good half to life. The use of imagery emphasizes even more the contrast between the two halves of life.

    This poem, describing the large changes in nature, could in turn be symbolizing the large changes that could occur in one's life. It may be portraying the fact that many good things in life can go away quickly, but that there is always a possibility for them to reappear again.

  6. The Half of Life

    This poem, is written about the beauty of nature versus the coldness of humanity. Holderlin starts the poem with a vivid, romantically-styled description of nature, pears in the country, roses, swans, the beautiful half of life. Then in the second stanza he talks of the other half or life, the winter. I interpreted the winter to mean humanity, as Holderlin ends the poem with the line “Walls stand/ Speechless and cold, in the wind/ The weathervanes chatter.” a description of a city. He has a very negative view of humanity and civilization, a common theme of romantic poems. The main theme/moral of this poem seems to be that nature is the spring of life, warm and beautiful, and civilization is the winter, cold and bleak.

  7. "The Half of Life"

    In this poem, Holderlin uses nature to clearly describe two distinct emotions. The summer is "brimming with wild roses" (2)and the author is "drunk with kisses" (5). Yet the winter is "speechless and cold" (13), causing Holderlin to yearn for the summer again. The use of the seasons in this manner is typical, as in the summer everything is full of life, while during winter mostly everything has died from the cold. Holderlin also clearly brings forth the emotion of individuals. He's full of love for half of his life, while the other half is spent waiting for the summer to come again, when he can again be alive. Holderlin writes that he won't know where to find the summer during the winter, but the winter is fleeting and once again he will be happy.

  8. "To The Fates"

    Though Nature is not a prominent message in Friedrich Holderlin's poem, "To the Fates," there is an obvious emphasis on the importance of one's personal voice. The speaker prays that even after his death, his "songs" - his legacy - lives on in the world. Self expression is another essential aspect of Romanticism. Words are the most important tools for these poets to convey their thoughts about society. For these words and the messages they carry to reach out to the rest of the population is often enough for the poets to feel “like the gods.”

    The speaker begins the poem by invoking “powerful ones,” whom we may assume to be the spirits of Nature. Instead of using years or months, the speaker uses summer and autumn as the measurement of time which is also suggests a more primitive style. Additionally, when describing his poems, the speaker used “ripe,” an adjective which usually applies to fruits and may be purposefully used here to establish a connection between the fruits of his talent and that of nature.

    The message of self expression in this poem is very familiar to me. Dante also believed strongly in the power of words and in the idea that the poet or writer can live eternally through their works even after he has departed for the “silent world of the shadows.” In fact, I think most good composers maintain this idea as what motivates them into creating amazing pieces which we continue to study today.

  9. To the Fates- This poem is about what the author wants to do before he dies which is what he loves doing most which is something do with music or song. Nature again shows up in this poem as it does in many poems involving romanticism and seems to be a common theme throughout all of these poems. In the poem the author feels strongly for song and music and even goes so far as to say "I'll be at peace, though accords of my lyre
    will not escort me below. For once
    I lived like the Gods, and no more is needed" which shows that he holds music in utmost reverence and compares being able to do this once more to be like living as a god. Gods and music are both powerful concepts which often have love associated with them and the author uses this comparison to convey the feeling of love that he has for song.

  10. “The Half of Life”
    Holderlin expresses the virtues of romantic poem by associating nature with human emotion, comparing the joy of summer to the dreariness of winter. He talks of summer describing emotions such as “drunk with kisses” in reference to swans. He also describes the visual landscape to express the beauty of nature during summer which is a romantic concept “With yellow pears the country,/Brimming with wild roses,/Hangs into the lake,”. These images of beauty and happiness connect to his emotions during summer and words such as “Speechless and cold” describe not only nature during winter but also his emotions during the season. Holderlin also discusses religion in nature talking of “the holy lucid water”. The poem generally has a tone of loss and the absence of summer is obvious in his words “Where, ah where shall I find,/When winter comes, the flowers,/And where the sunshine”. Though a simple emotion, regretting the passing of seasons, Holderlin expresses them with extra splendor by using romantic concepts.

  11. "The Half of Life"

    In "The Half of Life," Holderlin expresses his sorrow over the coming winter and illustrates the abundance of happiness that accompanies the more appreciated summertime. He describes summer as "brimming with wild roses" and the swans are "drunk with kisses." He mourns the coming of winter by asking, "Where, ah where shall i find, when winter comes, the flowers and where the sunshine?"
    To me, appears that Holderlin is using the two seasons as representations of the first and second halves of life, young and old. The begginning of life, youth, is shown by the teeming with joy and happiness, overflowing with possibilities. Old age is represented by winter, where youth is gone and there is only "speechless and cold". He has no mention of the return of summer, suggesting that once winter has ended, life will too. It makes the poem seem a bit hopeless, for it doesn't suggest that the horrid winter is fleeting, only that is has come to stay.

  12. "Brevity"

    This poem is about someone who has lost faith in life. Holderlin asks the subject, "Do you no longer, then,/ Love your art as you did?" The "art" is the subject's lust for life, and Holderlin is asking if the subject has lost a desire to live a meaningful life. Holderlin goes on to reminisce about the past with the subject, and how the subject used to have passion for the now, and "What you loathed was to make an end!" Holderlin associates reality and truth with the night, and he talks about the subject's aversion to reality when he says, "the bird of the night whirs/ Down, so close that you shield your eyes." The subject shields their eyes from reality.

  13. Brevity

    The speaker of this poem seems to have undergone an epiphany that has released him from a brief period of happiness, possibly ignorance. He uses images from nature to illustrate his former self and his current self, the "sundown's red/glow" representing the happiness and "the bird of night" representing the catalyst causing the transition from his previous state to his new one. He notes that the bird of night is "so close, you shield your eyes," which suggests that his realization was so powerful that he is no longer able to retreat to his former state.

    To me, it seems like the poem is trying to teach a lesson about aging or gaining experience. As you grow older and learn, you realize that the beliefs or principles you might have held in your brief youth may have been nothing but folly. You can't go backwards from that realization, as age can only move forward. A meaningful message, I'd like to think.

  14. In "The Half of Life," Friedrich Holderlin describes two distinct tableaux: one, he depicts as warm and inviting, while the other is portrayed as cold and barren. These two "halves" are summer and winter, respectively. This poem epitomizes Romanticism in its elaborate descriptions of nature (for instance, "yellow pears" and "shade of the earth"). Also Romantic is its tendency to analogize natural phenomena with human emotions, as when the poet writes that the walls are "speechless" or the swans "drunk."

    While Holderlin often personifies natural phenomena and inanimate objects, he does not definitively equate the changing seasons with any specific event. Instead, he leaves the work up to interpretation, merely describing the fluctuations of nature as they could be applied to a human life. The poem could therefore be interpreted as the passage of a character from naivete and bliss to the harshness of reality, or from the wonders of nature to the bleakness of civilization. Indeed, Holderlin uses only natural imagery in his more pleasant illustration, while he introduces the human elements of "walls" and "weathervanes" in the second. I am personally inclined to concentrate on the latter, perhaps because I have seen the horrors humanity can inflict upon nature.

  15. Amy Anderson

    This poem sounds both sad and regretful. The author has lost someone important to him, and writes the first stanza as if the person’s life were something that could read his poems.
    He asks it “Why are you so brief?” and wishes it had never left. The second stanza is about himself, and how he feels now that this person has left him. He claims that “the earth is cold” as if the person who died was his only source of warmth. He also speaks of how his love has “gone away” now that whoever it was has vanished.

  16. "The Half of Life"
    Holderlin begins his poem with a reference to nature. In fact, every sentence has a word that relates to nature. The sad part of the poem comes in the second stanza, where Holderlin talks about the upcoming winter months. The poem writes, “Ah, where will I find/ Flowers, come winter” (8-9), showing that he is not looking forward to the winter months because everything will be dead. The winter months take up a fourth of life, but the few weeks surrounding the winter months also display the cold and the sadness that is attributed to winter. In the first stanza, Holderlin is surprisingly happy about the life that is there, “With its yellow pears/ And wild roses everywhere”, but his emotions quickly change after he thinks about the coming winter.

  17. “The Half of Life”

    Holderlin’s poem describes the flowing beauty of nature through the many different faces of the world. The beginning stanza outlines many joyful aspects of the countryside when the plants and animals are in harmony. It also elaborates on the scenery by writing about the “gracious swans” and the “yellow pears,” which illustrates the event in late summer, right before pears are hard and green in mid September. The second stanza then changes tone, as it takes on a separate approach in the views of nature, feeling almost separated from it. Here, the poet describes the walls standing “cold/ And speechless,” even though walls, in general, are already inanimate. This suggests a sudden negative view on the outside world, as though a certain unspoken incident took place.

  18. Brevity

    In this poem the author is mourning the loss of someone or something that impacted his life. Perhaps the object of his admiration is dead or gone, or perhaps it is a lover who no longer returns his affections. The word "youthful" might either suggest that the person he is mentioning is a child and this is a father or mother mourning the loss of his or her son or daughter, or it maybe the youthful person is his sweetheart. The references to the bird and the color and texture of the sky show the aspect of romanticism that focuses on nature.
    The first stanza seems to be his lingering thoughts on what he has lost, and it gives the sense of the part of romanticism which focuses on regretting the loss of innocence and purity. The second stanza seems slightly less straight forward, and has more references to nature than the first stanza. The part about "it" going away could either refer to the red glow of the evening or the joy. This implies either that since the object of his affection is gone, he has no joy or that there is no longer any light to "bathe" in. The idea of the earth being cold symbolizes loss, and the bird that flies down could mean death or the dissapearance of affections that were once returned.

  19. In fitting with the romantic style, Hoederlin's "The Half of Life" laments the change of season, its effects on the human disposition, and, ultimately, the unbreakable bond that the human has with nature. He begins this idea with the very title of the poem. The title asserts that half the life of a human is lived through nature. One's life may only be fully lived with a thorough knowledge and appreciation for nature. Hoederlin also uses adjectives with purifying or deified connotations, such as "gracious" and "sobering". The first stanza glorifies spring, and the second stanza laments the winter. The tone of the second stanza suggests that the winter may be used as a symbol to represent modernization and the human's loss of connection to nature. The contrasting tones suggest that it is bad that humans have lost what Hoederlin believes to be so essential to life.

  20. Friedrich Holderlin’s poem “The Half of Life” uses many levels of contrast, both in the writing style and in the imagery. It is immediately obvious that the two stanzas divide the seasons. Stanza one describes the spring and summer, “[b]rimming with wild roses”, so saturated with love that even the swans are “drunk with kisses”. The next stanza shifts to a harsh, cold winter scene, the icy wind making the “weathervanes chatter”. These vivid illustrations of nature throughout the year is a clear indication of the Romantic interest in scenery and the natural world. The scenes described are also associated with the moods they represent--summer is a bright and giddy time, with the bold “yellow pears” and graceful swans setting the mood, while winter is unforgiving and silent with it’s “[s]peechless and cold” walls.
    The final stanza contains its own contrast. The first four lines seem almost wistful, the author lingering over sunnier times, before the onset of winter. They are questioning, wondering where some reminder of those happier times could be found. Immediately following these musings are three lines of sharp, clear description, lacking any insight on the author’s part at all. The abrupt change in style helps bring Holderlin’s point across, that the cold, silent walls will not answer his questions, the only response the clattering of the weathervanes.
    This was not my favorite of the Romantic poems we have looked at so far. I like the beginning three and ending three lines the best for their vivid and clear descriptions. This seems the least original, to me at least, since the contrast of spring and winter is much more expected that the comparison of a pine tree to a palm (as was the case in Hiene’s poem).

  21. The Half of Life

    Hoederlin sees life as two very different halves. He compares the first half of one's life to the next, using the similarity of differences between summer and winter. "With its yellow pears And wild roses everywhere". Summer is beautiful and joyous, allowing one to flourish with the many different opportunities available and interesting things to learn. "Ah, where will I find Flowers, come winter," Winter, or the second half of life, comes with a loss of things that one is able to do or enjoy anymore. One's knowledge of the world is vast, leaving little left to learn. Hoederlin is speaking to young people, with a word of advice embedded in his piece.

  22. The Half of Life
    Friederich Holderin

    Holderin begins the poem describing a pretty country scene. "Yellow pairs in the country,/ Brimming with wild roses."and he describes swans dipping their heads into "holy lucid water." The scene is nice and pretty and describes nature, but in the second stanza the pretty scene is gone. It is winter and the flowers aren't blooming, walls of a city "stand/ speechless and cold." and the only sound described is that of weathervanes in the wind. Holderin is describing here how society and cities are seperate from nature without the pretty sites and those living in the city are unable to see the beauty of nature. The Half of Life is this split between society and nature.

  23. The Half Of life

    The 2 stanzas of the poem are polar opposites. They are both about nature and the first is a scene where everything is full of life, with vibrant colors and vivid details of things blooming and living. The second stanza has nothing living and it is dark and colorless, still and motionless. He cannot find the things that he loves, no swans and no flowers. He purposely makes the walls go in the winter time. Everyone has to be cooped up inside society, in it's immobile walls, while nature is free and flowing, society is icy and bleak.

  24. The Half of Life

    In this poem, Holderlin presents two contrasting parts of life. The first thing he describes is a perfect scene with unreal natural beauty. In the second stanza, it changes and he describe what he probably meant by the title, the other half of life. In this portion,he talks of how the scene won't be there for ever, and in the winter it will be impossible to find anything so magnificent. This poem sort of shows the reality of things, that everything can't always be hopelessly beautiful.

  25. In his poem named Half of Life, when he says in the first stanza; “With its yellow pears, And wild roses everywhere, The shore hangs in the lake, O gracious swans, And drunk with kisses, You dip your heads, In the sobering holy water” he depicts a lovely scene for us. He explains the first part of the nature which creates the half of the balance of life in the way that all of the beauties and fertilities of life contribute on us and they provide the way to search for the source of nature for our mind’s satisfaction. On the other hand, in the last stanza, when he says; “Ah Where will I find, Flowers come winter, And where the sunshine, And shade of the earth? Walls stand cold, And speechless in the wind, The weathervanes creak” we see that he depicts a cold scene describing the last part of our lives. He uses the end of the beauties and the pleasures to show us that there is the other side of the nature, and we will be a part of it when we die. However, he does not mention the death as the end of everything or an event to be afraid of, he describes it as a means to reach the other which actually ends our searches in this life and gives us the real and eternal satisfaction. Therefore, describing the huge changes in nature, he leads us on the way of reaching “the other.”